Strawberries of one type or another can be grown pretty much throughout the South. Known botanically as Fragaria xananassa, they are easily accom- modated in most any garden. Plants have toothed, roundish, medium green leaves and white flowers. They grow 68 in. tall and spread by long runners to about 1 ft. across. For descriptions of orna- mental strawberries, see Fragaria.
Strawberries are grouped into three main categories. June-bearing types produce one crop per year in late spring or early summer; they are generally the highest quality, most dependable strawberries Southerners can grow. Everbearing types (a rather misleading term in the South) bear one crop in late spring or early summer and a second, smaller crop in fall. With a few exceptions, they're better performers in the Upper and Middle South than they are farther south, where long, hot summers do them in. Day-neutral strawberries (so-called because day length doesn't determine when they fruit) are similar to everbearing types in that they bear both spring and fall cropsbut they produce more fruit in fall over a longer period, and the fruit quality is better. Everbearing and day-neutral types produce few runners and are great for small gardens.
How many strawberries should you plant? For a small harvest, grow a dozen or so plants in a sunny patch in a flower or vegetable garden, or put them in containers on the patio. For a big crop, set out as many plants as you can handle, spacing them 1418 in. apart in rows 2212 ft. apart. Strawberries reproduce by making new plants (offsets) on the ends of runners, although some make few or no offsets. To get bigger berries (but smaller yields), pinch off all runners. For heavy crops of smaller berries, let runners and offsets fill in the space between rows.
Strawberries are sensitive to local conditions, so a selection that does well in one area may perform poorly in another. Consult with local experts (nursery personnel, Cooperative Extension agents) about the best selections for your garden.